As a teacher, there is no greater feeling than ending a lesson and knowing that our students were engaged and challenged. Add student accountability and voice to the equation, and man oh man, life is good! I am thrilled to report that many of our teachers are utilizing the awesome features of Pear Deck and are super excited about its power in the classroom. For those of you who are not familiar with Pear Deck, it is an awesome tool that takes lessons to the next level by making them interactive. It promotes student accountability and choice, and through the variety of question options it provides, students are engaged and truly thinking through class content. Click here to learn more about this fantastic resource.
As a G Suite for Education district, our teachers are quite familiar with Google Slides and create most of their lessons using this resource. Pear Deck has a simple and powerful add-on for Google Slides that makes it so easy to enhance and transform our lessons to put our students' thinking and work at its center. Knowing this, we had the opportunity to lead a Lunch 'N Learn for our staff and model how to use this resource in the classroom to promote student voice. In order to show the true power of Pear Deck, we asked our teachers to take the role of a student and actually experience it first hand. Our colleagues seemed to appreciate this PD model and some even tried Pear Deck that day because they were so eager to see it in action. #winning
One week later, I am excited to share what I heard and observed from some of our teachers who utilized Pear Deck in their classrooms:
- Ms. Jen Schmauderer utilized Pear Deck in her AP Psychology classes and loved that her students were engaged throughout the lesson. The interactive format provided an outlet for all students, and she enjoyed the option to display student work and use it as an instructional tool later in the period. Ms. Schmauderer also mentioned that she appreciated the fact that it is easy to implement since her lessons are already in Google Slides.
- At our freshmen building, Ms. Jody Perona used Pear Deck as a precursor to a discussion about company inflation rates in her business class. Students were asked to do a bit of research about a company and then share the inflation rating they found through an interactive question. From there, she used their work to lead a discussion about what these rates could mean as an economic indicator for the country. What a great way to get all students involved and engaged in a lesson and then use their voices as a stepping stool for a bigger discussion!
- In her German classes, Ms. Karen Calvert has used Pear Deck quite a few times since learning about it. I love what she shared about her experience with it: "It has really made me look at my current lessons and think about how I can add opportunities for student voice." Now that's #whatsup! Like Ms. Schmauderer, she also loves how easy it is to use because it doesn't require a lot of change to existing lessons. By adding one extra slide, she gets instant feedback from her students and is able to assess their learning: "We can look at examples together and fix things without anyone being singled out." Students were actively involved in the lesson, which makes all the difference when it comes to success in learning.
- According to Ms. Sara Wolfersberger, "The question 'How will you know if they're getting it' is SO easy to answer." She is excited that it gives her the chance to share student work but also gives students the chance to modify their work as they move through a lesson. She can add questions as needed during the lesson based on what she learns about her students in the moment. She is also a big fan of the student takeaways and that it provides "evidence of growth." Ms. Wolfersberger...I couldn't agree with you more!
Taking Lessons and Grading to the Next Level....
- English teacher, Ms. Laura Dabezic, has been using Pear Deck for a few weeks and is super excited about its power for capturing students learning and understanding. Yesterday, she modified one of her lessons and used Pear Deck to enhance a collaborative activity. Her students are currently reading Macbeth, and she had a series of questions about Act III that she wanted them to answer - based on images, lines, and graphs. The questions were on Google slides and students had to provide a written response. Students worked with a different partner for each question, but in earlier class periods, they worked ahead, conversations were off task, and they didn't put forth their best effort. Enter Pear Deck. She ended up using Pear Deck by inserting a text question on each slide. From there, students only had an allotted time for each question, and they had to use their time wisely to complete task since Mrs. Dabezic was able to control which slide appeared on their screens. Conversations were focused and student work improved, as she was able to view it while they were working. I loved this idea for a writing assessment and plan to utilize it in my own class!
- Ms. Tonya Koppin asked for help in locating student responses in Pear Deck because she wanted to read their response to an interactive question and provide feedback. In addition to the Dashboard and Student Takeaways, I also encouraged her to export this one written response to a spreadsheet, a feature available when you go to peardeck.com. From there, she utilized Save as Doc, an add-on for Sheets that takes information from a Sheet and transforms it into a Google Doc. It is awesome, especially if teachers want a better view of student work.
As you can see, feedback is positive and teachers are ecstatic about the power of student voice, enabled by Pear Deck. I will end with this....while I was writing this post, Ms. Dawn Fehring stopped in to get some help with her Pear Deck lesson. Her excitement about her first-period class was contagious, as she explained that Pear Deck took her sleepy, silent class to the next level by increasing engagement and giving all students an outlet for learning. According to Ms. Fehring, student motivation was high, and they didn't really feel like they were working hard...but they were. And all of her students were able to show her they "got it" through the work they completed. Dawn explained to me that with instructional technology, she typically has a "low learning curve" but is always willing to try new things that will engage her students: "Now...Pear Deck is something I can do, and I will get better at it each time." Taking risks and empowering students. Ms. Fehring said it best: "Wow...this is AWESOME!" #Whatsup
Click here to visit Steve Wick's blog for some more great ideas for utilizing Pear Deck in the classroom.